The health benefits of Chaparral tea have been known throughout Native American traditional medicine. It has been primarily used as an effective herb for skin disorders and blood poisoning, amongst many other uses. Many likewise believe it to be a good alternative cancer treatment, though controversy has raged as to its apparent toxicity to human liver cells.
Also known by its official name of larrea tridentata, chaparral is a flowering evergreen shrub that grows up to 1 to 3 meters tall. It possesses resinous dark green leaves and yellow flowers and can typically be found in the southwestern states of the United States, as well as northern Mexico.
Among the active constituents of chaparral are alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, cobalt, limonene and zinc.
Chaparral tea can be made by a sprig of dried chaparral leaves and flowers into a cup of boiling water. Let the mixture soak for about 2 to 3 minutes, then strain.
It should be noted that chaparral was once banned by the American Herbal Products Association when it was thought that it may have caused hepatitis. The ban has since been lifted when no association between chaparral and the reported cases of hepatitis could be confirmed. However, the internal use of chaparral is still not recommended. Those who still choose to take chaparral tea internally are cautioned to use it very sparingly.
The following are the benefits attributed to chaparral tea:
- When applied topically the tea may be effective against skin disorders such as eczema, herpes, athlete’s foot, ringworm, cold sores and dermatitis.
- May be inhibitory to certain types of cancer.
- The steam from its tea, when inhaled, may help alleviate and relieve coughs, colds and other congestion problems.
- May be helpful in the treatment of blood poisoning.